Longtime Westford resident Bernard J. Murphy, born on February 28, 1932 in the Bronx, NY, passed away peacefully on June 25, 2020. He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 61 years, Mary Smith Murphy, and his brothers John and Danny Murphy of New York. He is survived by his five children; Annemarie (and Brad) Brimmer of Simsbury, CT, Mary Ellen (and Louis) Cortellini of Poway, CA, Bernie Murphy, Jr of Stoughton, MA, Rosheen (and Glen) Secor of Westford, MA, and Susan (and Danny) O’Connor of Fairfield, CT, twelve grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, with two more on the way.
Bernie was the eldest son of Patrick Murphy and Annie McKenna Murphy who immigrated to the U.S. from County Monaghan, Ireland in the early 1900’s. As a youngster, he was a student at St. Simon Stock Grammar School where he was an altar boy, and then attended high school as an honor student at All Hallows High School, Class of 1951. Bernie graduated from Manhattan College in 1955 with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (BEE). He married Mary Smith on New Year’s Eve 1955 at Our Lady of Refuge Parish in the Bronx.
Bernie served from 1956-1957 as a Lieutenant in the United States Air Force stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska as a Communications and Intelligence Officer with the 626th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron.
Bernie and Mary returned from Anchorage after the birth of their first child Annemarie and settled in New Jersey where Bernie worked for the Kearfott Corporation. Bernie earned his master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from CCNY and was subsequently employed by the Raytheon Company.
In 1965 when he joined the MIT Instrumentation Lab in Cambridge, MA., Bernie relocated his family to Westford, MA, a small town known for its apple orchards and cow pastures. The lab at MIT, which later became Charles Stark Draper Lab, was contracted to develop the controls and displays for a manned underwater rescue vehicle for the U.S. Navy, called the Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV), which was operational in the 1970s. Bernie spent a considerable portion of his career working on underwater vehicles as a systems engineer at the lab. He was also one of the authors of the reference book Submersible Vehicle Systems Design published in 1990 by the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. In addition, he worked on test systems for Navy and USAF missile programs until he retired in 1994.
Throughout his life Bernie was a devoted father. Family was always his first priority. He was an inspirational leader and role model for his children and their children. He was active and involved in all of his children’s sporting activities. Bernie was a Boy Scout Leader and Youth Hockey League supporter. He ran with his children at the track, swam with them at Forge Pond, took them snorkeling at Cape Cod, and sailed with them on the Charles.
Bernie worked hard to give his five children a parochial education from grammar school through college, sending them to Holy Cross, Providence College, Assumption College and Boston College. He and Mary were active members of St. Catherine’s Church where Bernie was an usher for a number of years. Family and faith always took center stage.
In his retirement years, Bernie was an active member of the Copperheads Social Club and the Westford Investment Club. He developed lifelong friendships as a devoted member of these social groups in Westford.
Taking advantage of the four New England seasons he could be seen on the slopes of Wachusett Mountain in the winter with his ski group. In the spring he worked hard cultivating his gardens. In the summer months as a member of the Tennis with Dennis crew, he was a regular on the courts, and in the fall raking the never-ending shower of leaves on the hills of his property.
Bernard was an avid walker, hiker, scuba diver, and math whiz. He loved the beach, birdwatching, classical music, and Kimball’s Ice Cream. He was a watercolor painter who created beautiful works of art for his family. He became interested in astronomy late in life and joined the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston Astronomy Group.
A man of impeccable character, integrity, and patriotism, Bernie was the consummate gentleman, father, husband, grandfather and trusted friend. He always had a smile, a warm handshake, and a kind word for everyone. He left an indelible imprint on all who knew him.
Bernard Murphy will be sorely missed by his loving family, all of the Westford community and his new family of friends at the Huntington in Nashua, NH where he lived since May 2018. But we know he and Mary, the love of his life, will be holding hands forever in heaven.
Due to restrictions affecting us all at this time concerning social gatherings, the funeral and internment services will be held privately for the family.
Memorial donations may be made in Bernie’s name to the Society of St. Vincent DePaul, St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish, 107 North Main Street, Westford, MA 01886.